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CFL great Dunigan’s life a good read

<p>I didn’t know ex-NBA luminary Dennis Rodman had a twin sister and I sure as heck didn’t know she used to stalk Matt Dunigan.</p>




I didn’t know ex-NBA luminary Dennis Rodman had a twin sister and I sure as heck didn’t know she used to stalk Matt Dunigan.





I know now, however, because Dunigan writes about how he desperately tried to avoid Deborah Rodman — all 6-foot-3, 200 pounds of her — while he was a college quarterback at Louisiana Tech. It’s one of the more amusing stories in Dunigan’s new book, Goin’ Deep: The Life And Times Of A CFL Quarterback. Co-authored by Vancouver journalist Jim Taylor, the book is written well and easy to read.





I found it particularly enjoyable because I followed Dunigan’s career closely when he was starring in the CFL and when I was covering the league for The Globe and Mail and TSN. Few athletes intrigued me more than Dunigan did. He was fun-loving off the field, fiercely competitive on it. He was a QB with a linebacker’s mentality. With the possible exception of ex-hockey great Darryl Sittler, no athlete I knew commanded more respect from his peers than Dunigan.





Missing from his book, however, were details that likely would have interested readers. It was known throughout the CFL, for instance, that Dunigan didn’t care for rival QB Doug Flutie. Dunigan was a team man, irrefutably, and he let folks know privately he was bothered by what he perceived as a self-centred personality in Flutie.





Dunigan also might have had a shortlived CFL career were he not caught falsifying his age during a tryout with baseball’s Montreal Expos in the 1980s. While doing a story for The Globe, I discovered the age he gave the Expos was years younger than what was listed in CFL records. The Expos called me to double check and then told me they considered Dunigan too old and would release him, prompting his return to the CFL.





Although he progressed to a Hall of Fame football career, I always felt badly about exposing him in his baseball foray, although not as badly as I felt when revealing his career was ending because of concussions.





He still suffers from post-concussion syndrome, although you wouldn’t know it from watching him on TSN’s football panel.





The CFL, incidentally, threatened to remove him from that panel if he didn’t drop a lawsuit against it. It’s in the book but, basically, he felt the league was responsible for his salary after his team in Birmingham folded. He ended up with an out-of-court settlement worth $150,000. I think the league’s lucky he accepted because, in my view, he’s the top CFL analyst in the country these days.




marty.york@metronews.ca





In three-plus decades as a columnist and broadcaster, Marty York has built a network of solid contacts and a renowned reputation for his hard-hitting, groundbreaking style. The tradition continues in Metro Sports.

 
 
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